Dec. 1, 2021

E148 Tapping Into Your Superpower after Trauma with Collin Mitchell | CPTSD and Trauma Healing Coach

In this episode, I sit with my friend, Collin Mitchell, who talked about tapping into your superpower after trauma. Many people would share their stories, their experiences, triumphs, failures, and all the things in between because, ultimately, it is...
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In this episode, I sit with my friend, Collin Mitchell, who talked about tapping into your superpower after trauma.

Many people would share their stories, their experiences, triumphs, failures, and all the things in between because, ultimately, it is a continuation of a conversation about trauma, success, and failure.

Listen in to this episode, it's profound, but the one thing I will say is this; I believe in what he says, we all have a superpower within us, we all have the ability to be great, we all have the ability to tap into what is next in our life to create it to passionate it and to bring it to fruition, but we have to be willing to tap into that superpower, we have to be able to own it, we have to be willing and most importantly to knowledge that we can be successful. I hope that you'll find that in this episode and lead you to the place of being Unbroken.

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Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well, wherever you are in the world today. I am super excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest today, Collin Mitchell. Collin, my friend, what is going on in your world today, man?

Collin: Man, I love going on podcast and I always love going on podcasts that are maybe a little bit different or unique than we can talk about some things that will be interesting rather than the kind of the typical things that people always want me to talk about. So I'm excited and I think that we were chatting a little bit before here, it seems like we have some things in common and I think it'll be a good episode.

Michael: Yeah, man, you know and I agree with you and as someone who's always doing this, what I always wanted to do is just create amazing context for people to understand the possibility of what they can do with their life. And it's interesting to me the parallels that you and I have but instead of me telling your story, why don't you talk about your experience and kind of what has led you to where you are today?

Collin: Yeah, absolutely. You know, in for a long time, I wasn't super comfortable talking about my past and stuff because I think I still had some work to do and thought that, you know, that sort of defined me and now I've become a little more comfortable with really, just like owning my past and what that is and feel that it's really shaped me and being able to give me skills and experiences in tools to be successful in areas that maybe other people have a little bit more difficulty with. So, you know, I was raised by a single mom and so I first for a long time I was an only child for the first, like, ten years of my life and my dad was never really around my parents split up when I was fairly young and my dad preferred to spend, I don't know if he preferred but I always say that because it sounds more interesting but he preferred spending time in prison rather than spending time with me and so he had his own struggles and addictions and things like that.

And then you know as a young kid and a boy and still just even though knowing that your dad, you know, is not like other dads, you still want a relationship, at least, you know, for a while, even after many letdowns, and not showing up and things like that. So there were still like these attempts to have a relationship with my father whether it was like spending summers with him or maybe him trying to show up for the 15th hundredth time and so in those experiences like – I was also exposed to a lot of things that you know, no kid should ever have to see.

And then eventually as I kind of got older I sort of just got tired of it, you know, and realize that I was better off with more space between me and him. And so, raised by a single mom and then eventually my mom, you know, met somebody else and they had kids and so then I had three brothers, and that created a lot of work for me is well because I was like a lot older. So I had to help and do things, want to do necessarily but that's kind of where my life was, and when I was in high school and stuff like that I started to have sort of my own struggles and really was not that interested in school, I didn't really know, my mom was a waitress. So, she worked nights and I was kind of left to my own a lot and had to learn a lot of things and figure things out. And so, basically, as soon as I turned 18, I was like out of the house and ready to kind of go, do something else and nobody was really telling me college was important, I barely made it through high school by the skin of my teeth with my credits and didn't really know what I was going to do with my life. Just the only thing I knew was like I didn't want to live the way that I did as a kid like going into the grocery store, hoping my friends weren't going to be there seeing that we are paying for our food with food stamps.

Michael: Yeah, man, I resonate with that and a lot of different ways and there are always these interesting moments in life. We that experience I had to a tail, never forget, I don't know if I grew up in the Midwest and there used to be this place called Cubs Foods, and you would go to this place and I remember the first time ever that is our food stamps couldn't cover the bill and my mom had me go and take the food back and put it back on the shelf. And there were always a series of experiences that I had where I was like, you know what, when I'm a grown-up, this is not going to be my fucking life. I don't know what that means, but I will figure it out. And I think, unfortunately, for so many of us, and I'm curious, if this was your experience as well, even though we have that thought process, there's still this space in which we have to navigate getting out of our own damn way. What was that your experience, as you started to grow and now become an entrepreneur and family man, and things of that nature?

Collin: Mmm. Yeah. I'm going to touch on that in a second. So I totally identify with your experience and I hadn't thought about that part of it for so long. But as you were saying as like I vividly remember like putting the groceries on there and then like it just, you know, not being sure if it was going to cover it and happy to put things back or we got coupons for like government cheese and it was like we couldn't get the other cheese, we had to get that cheese, so we had to get this milk. And so anyway, yeah, I mean it's tough to get out of your own way when you're not taught a lot of skills or you don't have a lot of experience like dealing with those things. You know, my mom, I love her to death in like she did the best she could with the tools that she had and I got passed down the tools that she had and then with my dad not being around there is a lot that I didn't learn as a kid and so a lot of things I had to figure out on my own and as a young kid that sucks, you know, but like fast forward, that's actually a superpower of mine. And so your kind of have a choice, like everybody has a story, many, many, many people have it way worse off than me, the as growing up as a kid, some people have it not as bad, some people, may be similar, but you have a choice like you going to let that define you and hold you back and be your excuse and you know, it's a little harsh but like are you going to be the victim or are you like going to use that to propel you forward as motivation as fuel. And I had a very similar thought as yourself like I don't know what I want to do, but I don't want to live like this. And when I got my first sales job ever, I have a sales podcast and I talk to tons of sales people and your typical story is like, hey, I went to school for this thing and I didn't work out and sales was my plan B, or I thought I was going to do this and didn't enjoy it and or it's bad time in economic time and like sales was the only job I can get and kind of fell into sales by accident for me, it was like I had no other opportunities there was nothing else. For me, and so I saw that as a way out and I took that opportunity and now today fast forward and we can unpack things but I have a life that I could never dream of having.

Michael: Yeah. I resonate with that vehement man. And you know my first and it's so funny as we're having this conversation, I don't think I've ever said this on this podcast before my first legal job, let me be very clear about that. My first legal job, in sales, was for Cutco and I didn't know dude. I literally remember, I did not know what else to do. I was looking through the back of the newspaper and the classifieds and everything always said, like three years’ experience, five years’ experience, 10 years’ experience, college diploma. I'm like I didn't graduate high school like, how am I going to go? I don't have a college diploma and then I go and I'm in this group interview, and I'm just like, what the fuck have I gotten myself into but to your point, something really fascinating happen in the course of just, a short period of time, I work there cuz I was like this ain't for me but in that I started to think about the skills that I needed to create change in my life. When you were in it and I think what happens is often we're in this place where we're measuring the possibility of what it is that we can do with our lives, but still somehow being trapped in that narrative. What is it that you did as you were starting to acquire these skills that you use to project yourself forward into where you are now because, you know, to say that you never dreamt of this life, I want to push back on you and I want to go, are you sure about that? Because it sounded to me like, you started putting effort in a long time ago.

Collin:  Yeah. It's an interesting perspective. I don't, think that at the moment. I didn't have like, oh, I dreamed of not doing these things but like not know, I think what it really came down to is; I don't really know what I wanted, but I was really clear on what I didn't want and that was enough to give me the motivation and the drive to pour all of myself into something and that something was that first sales job. And I remember, you know, the first time probably getting a commission check that was worth probably more than my mom typically got in a whole year and it was like this is how I'm not going to live like that, and this isn't the healthiest of things but just the sincere desire to not be like, my dad was enough to motivate me to do better and be different.

Michael: Yeah, that's interesting to me because I have that same experience. I was recently at funnel hacking live Russell Brunson event, I'm sure you know who he is, if you're in this Arena and he had on this guy, Garrett White, I don't know if you are familiar with Garrett White or not, I have my own thoughts on him. He's a homey but you know, he's a while dude, but he said something really fascinating that asset with me and it has just been like, drilled in my head. He goes, if you want to be successful in life, you have to leave your father's house and I have been thinking about that like ad nauseam and what that means in the context of like having the life that you want to have, and I've never met my father, never met him one time, but I remember being like, if I have her have kids, I'll never be like him, right? I'll never be like them. I do think there is something powerful about this idea that you can use lack of a better term negative reinforcement in a positive way to create change in your life when you're thinking about like, what's next for you? That is that something you still leverage? Is that still like a tool in your toolbox? Like how do you start to now that you've kind of stepped into there I say a new plateau, like, how do you go forward at this point?

Collin: Yeah, so that was enough to get me so far, like, you know, not wanting to be like him, not wanting to live that way, but that only really will take you so far. And at some point, you really got to let that shit go, you know, you got to work through it, you got to get to the other side and get to a place where you can really level up and even just get to the other side of doing the work, you know, on that stuff, right? And so that is not enough to it's not sustainable, right? And for a long time like I'll just say it, man, I hated him, I literally hated him and even you know, now I have kids, I have three kids and number four on the way, you know, and there's been attempts occasionally for him to try to communicate and be my life or whatever and I pretty much shut him out for the most part because, I was like, look, you're not going to let them down, how you constantly let me down my whole life. I'm not even going to allow them to be vulnerable, to experience that because I know what it feels like. And you know, recently for the first time I let him see my kids. I'm at a place now where I don't hate him and actually, those experiences I dealt with really a lot of tough things as a kid, that most people do. I've seen, my mom get shot right in front of my eyes and bleeding in front of me, my dad was very heavy into drugs and all of these other things that I was exposed to and I've been able to be, somewhat successful in business and I think a lot of my experiences as a kid of dealing with those things that are extremely difficult, like, I love challenge. I thrive on a challenge and I love starting a business from scratch, where it's hard and it's tough, and nobody knows who you are, and they don't care and you get lots of rejection as I can thrive in that environment.

And there's a lot of things that have come up a business in scaling businesses that would stress a lot of people out and I'm just like, that's nothing and I can just keep going forward, that grit, that resilience, those are things that only you can really foster through experience. Now, it's unfortunate that the had come from the experiences that I had. But, I got the cards that I was dealt and I was able to make the best out of it.

Michael: Yeah. We don't have any control over the cards were dealt with, you know, it's Tony Robbins, always calls it, some people are part of the lucky sperm club, like – sometimes you're just lucky, sometimes you land in the Silver Spoon, but like for us, for the people listening to the show, that was not them, that was not us and so in that, it very much is a part of the hero's journey. You can play the victim all day long, and you're going to have a certain kind of life, and then you recognize that you can push through it, you can overcome it, you can heal it, you can own the story instead of owning you, and you are setting yourself up for such a different experience. And I say this all the time, on this show as an entrepreneur, I think being an entrepreneur is the most freeing thing for people who have experienced traumatic experiences, because it's the closest I think that you get to being you and in that, I think about it all the time in my own experience as of scaling businesses and leading teams and building structure. The worst-case scenario is never anything remotely close to what I've already survived.

I mean the worst fucking thing that's ever going to happen to me in business is I'm going to close it; I'm going to go bankrupt, that doesn't hold a candle to like stealing food for survival and being homeless as a kid and stealing cars and getting shot at, by the cops, and, you know, all of the craziness that my teenagers were. And I think that resiliency is such an under or misrepresented asset to what it means to like, be a human being.

And I think that the more that people are willing to tap into their resilience and go, you know what, I'm going to go for it and and maybe even this and I'm curious about your thoughts on it when I think about success that I've had in my life and I'll tell you this column and all transparency, I am nowhere, remotely close to the life that I'm trying to create. I'm still years and years away from it, but I move towards it every single day because I know on a long enough timeline because I've done it before I can build and scale my life to what I want it to be. But in that I've recognized and understood and even reconciled to a very interesting extent that I have to face my I fear, I have to be willing to look down and go, all right, fuck it.

What is your experience? Like, do you resonate with that? Is there something in the way that you operate where you're like, I'm willing to face this fear because I know the other side isn't as bad like what's that like for you?

Collin: Yeah, I mean, it ties back to what you said and your experience is, I mean, I've never been shot at by the police, but I've had some stories in some shit that I've survived. And it really in business like, there's nothing that freaks me out, it's exactly what you said. What's the worst that happens? I fucking lose it, I'll build it back, I don't care. So it's really hard to get freaked out or let fear hold you back in business. I mean, that's a superpower people that have been through shit like me and you have a superpower that they're not tapping into. And I love what you said, is, like, people that have dealt with this type of stuff, make great entrepreneurs because they have that grit, they have that resiliency, they've survived things, that are way more difficult than entrepreneurship, and they can use that as fuel to just push through walls that other people don't have the grit or tenacity to do so. And so, yeah. I mean, like, when I deal with fear, like, fears are real thing, it can be crippling for some people, especially, if they haven't dealt with their past, if they haven't done some work, to get to the other side of that, if they haven't done that, work is hard, right? But if they have then, when things creep up on me, that fear, whatever you want to call it, my first thought is only, what's the worst that could happen. And I'll let that sink in for a second and it's like, okay, if worst-case scenario were to happen, would me and my family, be okay and 99.999% of the time, the answer is yes. And so, it's like, fuck it. What's the worst can happen? Let's go. Let's try it. Let's do it. I love experimenting trying new things. I've started for different businesses, three have been successful, there's been tough times and in all of those and, you know, even when I fail or even when things don't work out, the way that I was hoping there's usually at least a good learning lesson or some experience in there that can take me to the next thing.

Michael: Do you think, having that mindset and that willingness in the way that you just laid it out? Is the key perhaps to what we would call tapping into that super power that you may already have? Or do you think that there's another way to tap into it?

Collin: I don't know. I honestly don't know. I know that in my experience. Yes, I don't know. What's your experience been? Is it different for you? Or is your experience similar to mine?

Michael: You know what? I think it is man, I've always kind of just laid out this North Star like what do I want to build in my life? How do I want to be remembered? You know, what is it that I want to leave the impact on? Because to go from this homeless kid, who was stealing food to survive to being a number one, best-selling author, award-winning speaker, podcast host, the whole nine, everything I've built. It's literally tied into me being so incredibly fucking stubborn that I don't care, like, I literally don't. Like I write something down and I asked myself, what does it take to get there? What does it take to get there? And then I just simply reverse engineer it all the way back to step one. And in that, I just start going forward knowing that on this path like I'm going to mess up every day, I'm gonna fail every day, I'm going to be in this position where every single day more than likely, I'm going to have to take like a hit but you know this as well I do like view are going to fall down more than you succeed in anything that you try to accomplish but on a long enough time line, you can accomplish anything if you're willing to fall down. And so I just I just go man, fuck it. I'm stubborn like I get it, it's my greatest attribute of my greatest character flaw. But since I have this presence, the self awareness within me, I know that going into it, right? And sometimes and I don't know if you relate to this, I got people in my life that will check me, like –  Yo, dude, you're being a psycho right now. Why don't you bring it down back to human level? Because man, I get so fired up, dude, I write down goals and they take me five years to accomplish seven years to accomplish, not, but they happen just last week, I accomplished something that I'd written down seven years ago. Think about that, right? And that's kind of my driver for my go. I believe we all have the ability, but maybe it's you have to be willing to ask for help, maybe you have to be vulnerable, maybe you have to recognize that it's okay, if you're not perfect, you know, I don't know. Because I mean in your, right, we all are very different. Do you think that there's some type of commonality? You know, that you've seen in the people around you that are successful or that you use as a marker? Is there something that you notice that you're like, maybe that's tangible and I can pick that and bring that into my life?

Collin: I'm going to answer your question in one second, but I just I want to touch on a couple of things that you said is, you know, that stubbornness that you mentioned. As a character flaw / superpower is, is key because people look and it's also has to do with that self-awareness, or your perspective on like, what is failure, right? It making mistakes along the way, that's not failure, that's just part of the journey, that's part of the path.

Failure is when you quit or you give up or you throw your hands up. Now, the stubbornness could not serve you in a positive way, if the thing that you're trying to do, you know isn't the best thing or isn't something that's going to work. But even if you see it through and it takes you to the next best idea that gets you to the bigger 7 your goal, then it was still worth it.

Michael: Yeah, I agree. It is still worth it. And in that, you know, and let me ask you this because maybe this will be something practical. And I want people to hear this, in a way that can be a tool or may not actually be practical, but I believe there is practicality in this systems of creating change in your life. If you were to kind of lay out, and I don't necessarily mean step by step, but if you were just kind of lay out, this is the things I've done, tried, experience to get to where I am. What is that framework look like?

Collin: Yeah, and if this is something that I had to learn through experience. Whether you're in like a job or entrepreneurship or you have a side hustle or wherever you're at, right? A lot of people think they need to get better at that thing, their job, their role, sales, marketing design, developing building, whatever, they think they need to get better at those things to hit that goal, that five-year goal, that 10-year goal, whatever their North Star is. And that is the quickest way to burn out, and give up on your idea or your goal. And what I actually realized is the more that I invested in myself personally, the much easier the professional stuff goes. The more I took care of myself personally, spiritually, mentally, actually spent more time and attention to that than the more success I had professionally. And so, what does that look like? Well, you know, for me, it's meditating for me, it's exercising consistently every morning, trying to have a journal practice, spending quality time with my family, eating healthy, standing all day, drinking a gallon of what, like all of these things that have become part of like taking care of me so that I can show up as the best version of myself with whatever I'm trying to accomplish today.

Michael: How long this what? I'm really curious about this. I understand what it takes to get to the place where you can say that but how long did it take you to be able to get to the place where you can say that?

Collin: Probably, I would say, for the first, once I got that first sales job, from there, probably for the first 4, 5 years, it just worked crazy hours, burn out like, not get proper sleep, all the time, not taking good care of myself, and then realizing that I was only going to get so far with that and then really starting to take better care of myself and it's not perfect every day. Do I miss some days and not do things that I should and do I fall off track absolutely? You know, but if you can start to develop that self-awareness where you know, you're a little bit off and you need to get back on track like the hardest part for me I tend to be a very black and white person, like – I'm all in on something or I'm all out, and if I'm all in on something, that's good for me and then somehow I fall off of doing it, I used to be very hard on myself about it, right? So then you get that negative self-talk and judging and all of this just can spin you out. And so, finding a way where you can be more empathetic to yourself of like trying things, doing different things, implementing and finding what works best for you, what works best for me, might not work best for you, but finding out what you need to do to take care of yourself so that you can show up as the best version of yourself in your professional role, or trying to accomplish whatever goals you've set up.

Michael: Let me ask you that. So, when I growing up, my identity was very much tied to this concept of like don't die, and I mean that in a real way and I'm sure you'll understand this. And so when I graduated high school, finally, they literally just handed me the right, get the hell out of here, and I was like, oh shit. What do I do now? I became entirely lost in the world in a way that I can't even really convey. And so, when you're thinking about where you're at in your life now and this is why I'm asking if this hits home for you or not is have you had to define the person that you are today? Was there a practice? Did you write something? Did you create something like how did you become the Collin you are today?

Collin: Yeah, a lot of it had to do with not necessarily like, writing out, or mapping out or defining like who I am, but realizing what things don't define me. And I think that's where things really changed, you know, so early in my career and even in early and entrepreneurship, like I let my successes in my mistakes or failures or whatever you want to call them challenges. I let those sort of define me and that can really take you to a dark place, you know, so if it was a great month, then I felt great, if it was a bad month, I felt horrible. You know, and so, you got to learn that those things don't define you, right?

So your successes and your failures don't define you and that can be a hard thing to actually conceptualize because we're so accustomed in six site in society like – to be defined by what we have or how much is in the bank or how great we look on social media or how many likes and comments and engagements we got or how many downloads and listens we have on our podcast like we let a lot of those things define us, positive things and negative but those are all just like a lot of vanity metrics and like, yes, we all need money and we all want to be successful and we all have these big goals that we're trying to accomplish and we need fuel to move forward towards them but it's a emotional roller coaster. If you let those things define who you are and how you actually feel about yourself.

Michael: So if it's not success or failure, how do you define yourself? Like, what are the cornerstones?

Collin: What's most important to you? You know, and so do I have ambitions and goals, you know, in targets and things that I want to absolutely. And this was a hard concept for me that I really wrestled with because it was like I was defined by those goals and hitting them and crushing them and I realize there are other things that are more important to me like, for me, my family is important and spending time with them is important in. So having the success that I've been able to have and allowing me to spend more time with my family, that's worth more to me. And so, you know, it whatever is important to you, like not necessarily the money in the bank account, but maybe like, it's the freedom to be able to travel or live wherever you want or, you know, for somebody like yourself like, it might just be literally not being dead and having a roof over your head, like, you know, I can't really answer that question because it's something personal for each individual, right? And so this is my experience in everybody's a little bit different.

Michael: Yeah, I agree with that 100%. I always tell people. You have to define yourself or who it is that you want to be successes such an intrinsic definition, you know because my life probably looks nothing like your life and vice versa and the way that we navigate the world should be about us, choosing how we want to live and I think that's the biggest thing about growth, that's the biggest thing about success is like – you figure that out for you and you go towards it as long as it works and if you wake up one day and you're like, I really don't like this anymore, this is not what I want like you can stop, it's okay to quit and I think, I have this amazing conversation with John Lee Dumas and he's like dude, sometimes you just gotta quit but you have to give up on shit, that doesn't serve you.

Collin: Yeah, that's how hard one for stubborn people like me and you.

Michael: It was, like I agree with that. I used to think very black and white in that context until I understood something. If I'm putting energy into things that aren't serving me that I'm taking away energy from things that do. And when I understood that, man, it was like a baseball bat to the face because I was like, why am I doing all of these things that don't actually matter? Collin, my friend, this is absolutely amazing conversation before I ask you my last question, can you tell everybody what you got going on and where they can find you?

Collin: Yeah, really simple, whatever podcast platform your listening to this on today. You can go check search out salestransformation. We drop five episodes a week, that is the best way to find out what's new, what's exciting and figure out what's going on in my world.

Michael: Brilliant. And my last question for you, my friend is what does it mean to you to be Unbroken?

Collin: You think I would have been prepared for that question, but I wasn't. What does it mean to be unbroken? You know, to not let your past define who you are today.

Michael: Simple and concise. I love it, brother. Thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.

Please, like, subscribe, comment.

Tell a friend.

And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.



Collin MitchellProfile Photo

Collin Mitchell


Collin Mitchell is a 4x entrepreneur, father of 4 who is passionate about all things sales and podcasting. He is the CRO at Salescast where they help companies start, manage, and grow podcasts.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.